What if God isn’t just a theoretical concept? What if the creator of the universe really did come to earth 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ to reveal his plan of salvation for the world? And what if Jesus, before returning to heaven, really did impart the Holy Spirit to empower, guide and equip all those who received him to manifest God’s goodness, mercy and love throughout the earth?
If all of the above really happened – as Christians attest – then wouldn’t folks want to celebrate? And wouldn’t they want to receive the power of God to share the good news?
This past week, I was privileged to join several hundred other believers from every New England state for three days of prayer, teaching and worship at the birth place of the 19th century preacher D.L. Moody in Northfield, Mass. It looked a lot like heaven. And I don’t mean people wearing long robes turning to the next pages of their hymnals — although some hymns are great. I mean people who were dancing, shouting, waving flags, blowing the shofar and proclaiming God’s greatness at the tops of their lungs. Because, if God really is as good as we say and he really loves us that much, shouldn’t we all be a little excited?
And here’s what else I discovered: God is still working. In the midst of devastating storms; food scarcity; economic, educational and racial inequality; mass shootings; and an epidemic of violence, addiction, self-absorption, arrogance and anxiety, God is still pouring out his Spirit. Jesus is still breaking chains of addiction and abuse. He is still setting captives free from the curse of death and disease and despair. He is still imparting new life and hope and healing to all who receive him.
Sometimes, tucked away in our sleepy little Maine towns and churches, it can seem as if nothing much is happening. Thankfully, that’s not true. To be part of what God is doing, we need to step out of what is comfortable and familiar – as I did last weekend – and join together with God’s bigger family. Not just the people who look and speak and worship as we do, but people from every background and heritage and Christian tradition so that we can learn and grow and be blessed together.
Because God’s plan is a lot bigger than just me. His purpose is a lot bigger than my little family and town and church. He wants to raise up a united church that will live out the message of Christ’s love through the power of the Holy Spirit to bless the whole earth – including New England.
To discover more about what God is doing, check out the New England Alliance, which organized this wonderful weekend. Step out of your comfort zone – and maybe even your pew – and join with others in God’s family to share his love. Because it’s time to celebrate and share the Good News.
Meadow Rue Merrill, the author of Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine. Connect at www.meadowrue.com